Monday, June 11, 2007

The incredible little inedibles

More remarkable finds via Modish, a blog I've been visiting daily for its innovative works of art such as these from Pukashell Creative Designs (though I'm still looking for the puka shells in them tiny creations):

Sweetheart cake pin

Bonbon magnets (these are crocheted)

Fairy cake (great for collectors of miniature "delectables" -- crocheted, too)

Sweet treats dessert ring

Life goes on...

Well, now that I finally got to reach the "post-create" page, I've forgotten the things I'd been wanting to blog about the past three days. That "firefox has encountered a problem and needs to shut down" pronouncement has been flashing on me more often lately, thus thwarting any plan to post anything. But at least this time the message would pop up before I got any writing started.

To start (and to make this post brief, hence the dreaded message appears again!), the following illustrate my condition the past two weeks or so. Lots to do at work as deadlines loom -- but I love what we're putting together! It's tiring, though. Here's basically how I felt, especially the last week:

Boy, am I pooped. There must be an easier way to do all this work...

I'll just catch a little shut-eye...

and it's back to work! Good thing my teammates are good at what they do...

...but what if I don't beat the deadline?

Enough already... there's nothing left in me. And besides, my eyebags are getting worse.

Hurrah!! Submitted my last story!! I feel like going to a spa and getting pampered. =)

And this is what I did a lot of the past weekend. And no deadlines or magazine layouts made it to my dreams.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Friendships at Hogwarts

There will be no Quidditch matches in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That much I know after scanning the Wikipedia page of the latest and final installment in the Harry Potter series.

The approaching movie playdate notwithstanding, some things about the books by J.K. Rowling are a classic, not bound by cultural trends or geographical borders. An insightful piece by Andrew Byrne sheds some light on it. An excerpt:

Imagine for a moment what these books could have been like. If you read the Arts and Culture pages of today’s newspapers, their reviews of books, plays, television, you get a constant flow of dysfunctional situations. The general message is one of depression at the state of modern society. In Harry Potter you get a completely different world view. Instead of a general mush of gloom and self-indulgence, you have a world of clear cut values. These values are not sugary and naive. The world Rowling depicts is very much a battleground, evil and good are locked in struggle, and often it seems that evil is getting the upper hand. Not a few succumb to its pressures. Or prefer to bury their head in the sand. But good wins out in the end.

We see this world through the eyes of a young orphan. He has a deprived home background (the Dursleys household, where he has been living and treated unlovingly since his parents were murdered shortly after his birth). From this background he has been liberated by being given a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Here he finds people who understand him and who offer him a home, a double home, both at school and in the holidays (the home of the Weasley family, a large and poor family, parents and seven children, all of whom have been students at Hogwarts).

Read Lessons from the Hogwarts threesome

In the meantime, I found some photos of younger Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Research, experimentation & the human being

GALVESTON, Texas, May 28, 2007 ( - In a fundamental discovery that someday may help cure type 1 diabetes by allowing people to grow their own insulin-producing cells for a damaged or defective pancreas, medical researchers at the University of Texas have reported that they have engineered adult stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood to produce insulin.

Full story here

While the above illustrates the kind of scientific research that apparently keeps the welfare of human beings in mind at every stage of study and experimentation, here's something about some results of administering the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil. The death of a 12-year-old is one of the reported cases.

Three deaths were related to the vaccine. One physician's assistant reported that a female patient "died of a blood clot three hours after getting the Gardasil vaccine." Two other reports, on girls 12 and 19, reported deaths relating to heart problems and/or blood clotting.

Full story here

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Music & play

Two news reports I got from MercatorNet's weekly newsletter Family Edge:


Teenagers who insist that listening to music helps them study are at least beginning to show good taste. New radio listening figures in the United Kingdom show that nearly half a million under 15-year-olds tune in each week to the Classic FM station -- reflecting growth of 100,000 a year in recent years. The surge was initially fuelled by interest in sound tracks from films like Harry Potter and Star Wars, but word of mouth seems to have taken over.

"These figures prove that today's iPod generation is increasingly turned on by classical music," said Classic FM's managing director, Darren Henley. "Mozart and Beethoven remain as relevant today as they were in their own lifetimes." Peak time for young listeners is between 7pm and 9pm -- when they use the music to "chill out and relax" while doing homework -- and the station has been targeting them with their own request shows. "More than 70 per cent of the requests we get are from students taking exams and tests," says Mr Henley. How well they do is another question. ~ London Telegraph, May 12



Photo: Sabine Sauer/ Der SpiegelAgeing Germany is not going to be allowed to sit back and worry about the dearth of children. The country's first playground for seniors has been opened in Berlin, inspired by public exercises seen in China. The equipment in Preussen Park is designed for people at least 1.5 metres tall, and children can only use it with adult supervision. Simple gym equipment made of stainless steel is laid out on a layer of bark under a canopy of trees. The gear includes a flexibility machine, a leg trainer and a back-massage machine. Total cost 20,000 euros -- one quarter of the cost of a children's playground. ~ Der Spiegel, May 9

Another try

A week ago, I had finished typing a blog entry but before I could click on "publish," some message flashed on my screen, telling me that something went wrong with Firefox and so it had to shut down. Attempting to save what I had written proved futile. After that, I lost all motivation to type the whole thing all over again.

So this time, I'll keep this first post brief and hit "publish" right away.

Oh, that artwork up there is by a Hungarian artist named Irisz Agocs and it pretty much sums up what the past couple of weeks in Manila have been like (rainy). The wet season has indeed begun, and it's going to be like this until around October.

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